Sunday, February 17, 2013


St. Simon of Jerusalem
Feast: February 18

Feast Day:February 18
Died:106 or 107 AD, Jerusalem
ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin to Our Saviour. We cannot doubt but that he was ail early follower of Christ, and that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles. When the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser,his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after Our Saviour's Resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
In the year 66, in which Sts. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. They therefore departed out of it the same year,—before Vespasian, Nero's general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judea,—and retired beyond Jordan to a small city called Pella, having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. The Church here flourished, and multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.
Vespasian and Domitian had commanded all to be put to death who were of the race of David. St. Simeon had escaped their searches; but, Trajan having given the same order, certain heretics and Jews accused the Saint, as being both of the race of David and a Christian, to Atticus, the Roman governor in Palestine. The holy bishop was condemned to be crucified. After having undergone the usual tortures during several days, which, though one hundred and twenty years old, he suffered with so much patience that he drew on him a universal admiration, and that of Atticus in particular, he died in 107. He must have governed the Church of Jerusalem about forty-three years.
(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)



Vatican Radio REPORT Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus with the faithful in St Peter’s Square this Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent. Tens of thousands of pilgrims were on hand, beneath a bright and unseasonably warm Roman sky. Speaking from his window in the Apostolic Palace above the Square ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father placed the Lenten season on which the Church is embarked in the context of the Year of Faith. “In this Year of Faith,” he said, “Lent is a favorable time to rediscover the faith in God as the basic criterion of our life and the life of the Church.” The Pope went on to say that this always involves a struggle – a real spiritual combat – because the spirit of evil that is opposed to our sanctification seeks to throw us off the path that God has set out for us. Noting that it is for this reason that the Church traditionally proclaims the Gospel narrative of Christ’s temptation in the desert on the first Sunday of Lent, Pope Benedict said, “The tempter is subtle: he does not push us directly toward evil, but to a false good.” The Holy Father went on to explain that, ultimately, what is at stake in the temptations is faith. “In the decisive moments of life,” he said, “but, if we look closely, in every moment, we are at a crossroads: do we want to follow the self, or God?” It was a theme to which Pope Benedict returned during his greetings to Pilgrims in English: 

Today we contemplate Christ in the desert, fasting, praying, and being tempted. As we begin our Lenten journey, we join him and we ask him to give us strength to fight our weaknesses. Let me also thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me in these days. May God bless all of you!

The Angelus this Sunday was the second-to-last scheduled before Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation becomes effective at 8PM Rome Time on February 28th. Rev. Mr. Raymond Donnelly of the clergy of Clogher and a seminarian at the Pontifical Irish College was one of the scores of thousands of pilgrims in the Square. “I think it is very sad to see the Holy Father retiring,” he told Vatican Radio, adding, “we pray and wish him well – and I trust in his very good judgment in this decision.”

Beginning Sunday evening, Pope Benedict is spending the week in Lenten spiritual retreat, together with members of the Curia and the Pontifical household, under the direction of the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. The Pope has no public engagements scheduled for this week. 



VATICAN CITY, February 15, 2013 (CISA) -One of the developing world’s leading candidates for the pope’s successor has declared the Catholic Church ready to have its first non-European Pope – and said that he will gladly take on the role “if it is the will of God”.
Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said he believed the churches of Africa and Asia had grown in strength to the extent they had produced “mature clergymen and prelates that are capable of exercising leadership also of this world institution.”
“I think in a way the church is always and has forever been ready for a non-European pope,” the 64-year-old, a favourite of Benedict XVI, told the Associated Press. He did not think the prospect was “too far away”, he added.
Asked about speculation that he could himself emerge from next month’s conclave as Benedict’s successor, he said: “I’ve always answered ‘if it’s the will of God.’”
However, although Turkson is an early favourite of the bookmakers in a very open field of candidates, there are question marks over his credentials, which some Vatican observers say could hold him back. He was forced to apologize last year after screening a YouTube video at a meeting of bishops which made alarmist predictions about the rise of Islam in Europe. It claimed, among other things, that France would be an Islamic republic within 39 years.


The phenomenon was captured on video and posted on the internet and on TV. At least a hundred people affected, but none seriously. As a precaution, the government sends 20 thousand soldiers to the area. Today the passage of 2012 DA14 is expected, which will pass over Indonesia at 27 thousand km altitude.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A spectacular meteor show struck central Russia this morning, near the Ural Mountains, causing damage to buildings and injuries but none of them serious. Some amateur videos and CCTV (transmitted by the RT channel or posted on YouTube) have captured images of the event, which has sown panic and terror among the population. Also today asteroid 2012 DA14 is expected to pass close to Earth, whose chances of impact with our planet have been declared "null and void" by the experts. According to the calculations at 7.25 this evening (Italian time) it will travel at a minimum distance of 27,300 km above the skies of Indonesia, marking the "closest point" between the asteroid (50 meters long) and the Earth's surface.

The meteor shower this morning in Russia - made up of rocks that ignite on impact with the atmosphere - caused huge explosions and damage to objects and people. In the town of Chelyabinsk (Urals) residents report that the ground shook, glass shattered, roofs were ripped off and there were about one hundred minor injuries. Witnesses report that the fall of fragments was also visible in Yekaterinburg, about 200 km south-east of Chelyabinsk.

Moscow sources add that the meteor shower occurred in a sparsely populated and this contained damage. "A meteorite - said an official - has disintegrated over the Urals, some fragments have caught fire in the lower part of the atmosphere."

Many citizens in a panic called the emergency services. As a precautionary measure, the authorities have stationed at least 20 thousand people in the area including experts and volunteers of Civil Defence, but there were no danger, none of the injured - mostly affected by shattered glass and splinters - required hospital treatment.

An official of the government said that the phenomenon has ended and there are no other meteorite falls forecast in the coming hours. At first people thought a plane exploded mid-flight.




King of Bahrain donates land for construction of Catholic Cathedral | The King of Bahrain,Mgr Camillo Ballin, mccj, Apostolic Vicar of north Arabia,and Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Ahmed Bin Ateytallah Al Khalifa, King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa

King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa

The King of Bahrain has donated 9,000 square metres of land to the Catholic Church for the construction of a cathedral.
Mgr Camillo Ballin, mccj, Apostolic Vicar of north Arabia, vicariate which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia told Fides that he was in Kuwait when he received a request for a meeting from the King of Bahrain's Minister, Shaykh Ahmed Bin Ateytallah Al Khalifa, who later handed him the deeds to the land.
Mgr Ballin was keen to highlight that the document was dated 11 February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes that in Bahrain corresponds to Our Lady of Arabia .
"Our prayers have been answered," writes the Bishop. "Our Lady of Arabia is capable of doing miracles!"
Bishop Ballin said that 13 February he was invited to the royal palace for a meeting with King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa with all the religious authorities, and was that he was going to be seated seated next to the King as a guest of honour. He said this would enable him to personally thank the King for this gift. The new church will be Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Arabia.
Source: Fides



Capuchin Friars Minor celebrate ordination to priesthood

Monday 11 February 2013

Words Fiona Basile

Pictures by Tristan McLindon
THE Capuchin Friars Minor of Australia celebrated the ordination to priesthood of three young men at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne on Saturday 9 February.  The cathedral was full as friends, family and fellow clergy gathered to witness the ordinations of Br Dean Mathieson OFM Cap, Br Benjamin Johnson OFM Cap and Br James Grant OFM Cap.

Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Rev. Denis J Hart DD was principal celebrant and Ordaining Prelate, with Provincial Fr Gary Devery OFM Cap concelebrating, among other capuchin, local and visiting priests.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred on the three men by the Laying on of Hands and the Prayer of Consecration. As outlined in the Mass booklet, ‘in this most ancient part of the Ordination, Archbishop Hart follows the form of the Apostles in laying his hands upon each of the candidates, calling down the Holy Spirit upon them.’

The three candidates participated in silence, ‘in a faith-filled recognition that it is the Holy Spirit who speaks and acts through the Archbishop in the Ordination of Priests.’ Following this, each of the concelebrating priests laid hands on the candidates.

The three were then presented with the stole and chasuble, ‘the vestments proper to The Order of the Presbyterate’. The stole is a symbol of the sacramental and teaching authority of those who are ordained. The candidates had received these stoles when ordained deacons in August last year. The stoles were rearranged and worn as for priests.  The chasuble was then placed on the newly-ordained men, which represents ‘being clothed with the love of Christ, which binds everything together in perfect harmony Col 3:14’.

Archbishop Hart anointed the palms of the newly ordained priests with the Oil of Chrism. The words used by the Archbishop link this action to the Father’s anointing of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The men were then presented with gifts. ‘Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and confirm your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross’, said Archbishop Hart.
In a moving sign of solidarity and joy, the Archbishop then gave the sign of peace to the newly ordained priests, followed by all of the concelebrating priests.

At the conclusion of the proceedings, Fr James Grant OFM Cap, speaking on behalf of Fr Benjamin Johnson and Fr Dean Mathieson OFM Cap, thanked all those gathered for attending and for their love, support and prayers. He gave particular thanks to Archbishop Hart for allowing the ordination to take place at the cathedral, and also to Capuchin provincial Fr Gary Devery OFM Cap, Fr Robert Stewart OFM Cap, and to Fr Denis Ward OFM Cap, who passed away in May 2010.

At the conclusion of Mass, a reception was held in the hall of Ss Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in South Melbourne.  The Masses of Thanksgiving were held yesterday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle Park for Fr James Grant, at Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church in South Melbourne for Fr Dean Mathieson and at St Anthony’s in Hawthorn for Fr Benjamin Johnson.


Feb 17, 2013 - 1st Sun of Lent

Deuteronomy 26: 4 - 10
4Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
5"And you shall make response before the LORD your God, `A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
6And the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage.
7Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression;
8and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders;
9and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
10And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which thou, O LORD, hast given me.' And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;
Psalms 91: 1 - 2, 10 - 15
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
2will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."
10no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
11For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.
12On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him.
Romans 10: 8 - 13

8But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach);9because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.11The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame."12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him.13For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
Luke 4: 1 - 13
1And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit
2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.
3The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
4And Jesus answered him, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone.'"
5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
6and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.
7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours."
8And Jesus answered him, "It is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"
9And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here;
10for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,'
11and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
12And Jesus answered him, "It is said, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.


Founders of the Orders of Servites
Feast: February 17

Feast Day:February 17
Between the years 1225 and 1227 seven young Florentines joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin—popularly known as the 'Laudesi' or Praisers. It was a period when the prosperous city of Florence was being rent by political factions and distracted by the heresy of the Cathari: it was also a time of general relaxation of morals even where devotional practices were retained. These young men were members of the most prominent families of the city. Whether they were all friends before they joined the Laudesi is not clear, but in that confraternity they became closely allied.

The eldest was Buonfiglio Monaldo, who became their leader. The others were Alexis Falconieri, Benedict dell' Antella, Bartholomew Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and John Buonagiunta. They had as their spiritual director James of Poggibonsi, who was chaplain of the Laudesi, a man of great holiness and spiritual insight. All of them came to realize the call to a life of renunciation, and they determined to have recourse to our Lady in their perplexity. On the feast of the Assumption, as they were absorbed in prayer, they saw her in a vision, and were inspired by her to withdraw from the world into a solitary place and to live for God alone. There were difficulties, because, though three of them were celibates, four had been married and had ties, although two had become widowers. Suitable provision for their dependents was arranged, and with the approval of the bishop they withdrew from the world and betook themselves to a house called La Carmarzia, outside the gates of Florence, twenty-three days after they had received their call. Before long they found themselves so much disturbed by constant visitors from Florence that they decided to withdraw to the wild and deserted slopes of Monte Senario, where they built a simple church and hermitage and lived a life of almost incredible austerity.
In spite of difficulties, visitors sometimes found their way to the hermits and many wished to join them, but they refused to accept recruits. So they continued to live for several years,—until they were visited by their bishop, Ardingo, and Cardinal Castiglione, who had heard about their sanctity. He was greatly edified, but made one adverse criticism: 'You treat yourselves in a manner bordering on barbarity: and you seem more desirous of dying to time than of living for eternity. Take heed: the enemy of souls often hides himself under the appearance of an angel of light . . . Hearken to the counsels of your superiors.'
Again the solitaries gave themselves up to prayer for light, and again they had a vision of our Lady, who bore in her hand a black habit while an angel held a scroll inscribed with the title of Servants of Mary. She told them she—had chosen them to be her servants, that she wished them to wear the black habit, and to follow the Rule of St. Augustine. From that date, April 13, 1240, they were known as the Servants of Mary, or Servites.
They were clothed by the bishop himself, Buonfiglio being elected their superior. According to custom they selected names by which they should thenceforth be known, and became Brothers Bonfilius, Alexis, Amadeus, Hugh, Sostenes, Manettus and Buonagiunta. By the wish of the bishop, all except St. Alexis, who in his humility begged to be excused, prepared to receive holy orders, and in due time they were fully professed and ordained priests. The new order, which took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the monastic orders, increased amazingly, and it soon became necessary to form fresh houses. Siena, Pistoia and Arezzo were the first places chosen, and afterwards the houses at Carfaggio, the convent and church of the Santissima Annunziata in Florence, and the convent at Lucca were established. Meanwhile, although the Servites had the approval of their immediate superiors, they had not been recognized by the Holy See. It was only in 1259 that the order was practically recognized by Alexander IV, and not until 1304 over sixty years after its foundation-that it received the explicit and formal approbation of Bd. Benedict XI. St. Bonfilius had remained as prior general until 1256, when he begged to be relieved owing to old age. He died on new year's night, 1261.
St. Buonagiunta, the youngest of the seven, was the second prior general, but not long after his election he breathed his last in chapel while the gospel of the Passion was being read. St. Amadeus ruled over the important convent of Carfaggio, but returned to Monte Senario to end his days. St. Manettus became fourth prior general and sent missionaries to Asia, but he retired to make way for St. Philip Benizi, upon whose breast he died. St. Hugh and St. Sostenes went abroad—Sostenes to Paris and Hugh to found convents in Germany. They were recalled in 1276, and, being attacked by illness, they passed away side by side the same night. St. Alexis, the humble lay-brother outlived them all, and he was the only one who survived to see the order fully and finally recognized. He is reported to have died at the age one hundred and ten.